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From Darkness We Are Reborn.

From the darkness of the womb,
We are created and birthed ‘in the beginning’ {chuckles at private joke.}.

From the darkness of the soul,
We are recreated and birthed anew, for an eternity {is there such a thing?}

All things must die to be reborn.
Light must die to usher in the dark.
And then we must sacrifice the dark to rebirth light anew.
Light must die.
Dark must die.
Each in its turn,
The cycle of night and day.
The cycle of sleep and wake.
The cycle of stagnation and evolution.

I’ve been listening to this piece a fair bit recently, and I think I know why.

It is hard to be with a moving target, a wanderer, a nomad, not only of the earth, but of soul, of spirit. One who wanders between worlds, between light and dark. Where illusion is a part of reality, and reality may be illusion. It is hard to understand, I understand.

No past. No future. Only the Now. Only the Calling. Always calling, calling.

Those who stalk Power can never walk any other Path. The Calling always comes first. Calling to the Self. Life is the laboratory, the stage. We explore, experiment, express and experience in order to Know that we do not know. And through it all, we keep changing, changing, answering the Call to personal evolution.

No, it’s not all fun and games, not a bed of roses {like WTF, ouch! the thorns?!}

Balance ;) does not exist as a constant equilibrium.
Balance is itself a moving target, a constant flux.
The only constancy is change.

Perceived in a non-constructive light… it is hell.
Flip the coin… and it is the fires of a forge.

I don’t believe in hell. Do you?

For ‘my boys’… ;) {my spaceship’s missing!}

Lyrics:

I will follow you anywhere,
Take my soul, and lead me there.
In the silent night, you kill the light.
I will follow you to the end,
Take my heart, my love and then,
Lead me into darkness.
Guide me into darkness.
Guide me in darkness.
I will follow you anywhere,
Take my soul and lead me there.
I will follow you to the end,
Take my heart, my love and then,
I will follow you anywhere.
Take my soul and lead me there.
I will follow you to the end.
Take my heart and lead me into darkness.

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Real Change Cannot Be Written. Only Lived.

Over three months have passed since I last wrote consistently here. I look back, and March 2015 feels a lifetime away.

That is what true change feels like. Weeks disappear like days. Time is relative, after all. Relative to our perception, and perception is notoriously fickle and unreliable.

Maya. Illusion.

I used to think that I would live life and write about it. Almost a decade has passed and I’ve finally come to the amused realisation of my folly.

I thought to share my personal revelations, so that others may benefit from them. After all, I was told, “You’re a good writer!”

Not for this, apparently.

Perhaps I live life too intensely, too deeply. Words so poetic and eloquent flash in my mind, like a fireflies, only to be consumed by the vibrant flames of Now. In the moment. I am alive and I am too busy being alive to return to the past to write about it, even if said past was seconds ago!

Breathe… and its gone.

Do you think about your breath? That single act of inhalation can be so intense when you realise what it is. It is a moment. A moment of life, come and gone, just like your breath, in and out. Gone.

Are you there? Are you actually there to witness it? Are you Here?

2012 to 2015 have been amazing, emancipating. Three years of spiritual gestation and labour. Three years in a chrysalis.

The path forward was always to be forged in strength and power. No clinging onto victimhood, blame or regret. No mercy for these.

The ‘I’ from 2012 wouldn’t recognise the ‘I’ today.
The ‘I’ today is everything the ‘I’ from the past wished to be but never thought she’d be.

I used to think that my writing would increase in proportion to my development of personal power. Apparently it was the other way around. Too busy living. Too busy being. Too busy laughing.

Too engrossed in joy, compassion, giving, receiving, creating, learning, growing, changing.

Too busy being grateful… for I wouldn’t have arrived without the help and support of those closest and dearest to me, in particular my parents and Colin. I even feel grateful to perceived ‘enemies’ of the past, for without the trials they presented me, I wouldn’t have been given the opportunity to break free from bondage into freedom.

New friends and dear ones have arrived in my life. Powerful individuals. Strong and proud, not weak and exploitative. Independent and fierce. New bonds being created, with so many people here in the community. And I treasure them all.

To my dear readers, or those who remain {laughs} I cannot promise that I will write regularly. I’m not really interested in my blog these days. I’ve got a better life to live out there, in the real world right now. New challenges to face. New lessons to learn. New growth to make.

I may write, I may not. I’ll see, as the wind blows.

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On Darkness Within.

Do you fear the Dark in yourself?

If you fear seeing the Dark in others, you fear the Dark in yourself.

Polarity does not exist.
Or… Polarity exists as an illusion to be integrated.

A person who does not fear the Dark looks upon the Dark in others with calm acceptance, or mild amusement. He or she does not attempt to distract the other from exhibiting the Dark, or changing the subject, or ‘lightening’ the mood.

Doing so is evidence of your own fear, rejection and lack of respect of your innate Dark.

Dark is not to be inflicted upon others as an act of violence. Dark mastered is a weapon, yet even then, I feel it is a weapon that should not be used.

I am no master of my own Darkness, merely a humble pupil. I still feel rage. I can merely strive to minimise its impact, and moderate its use as a tool.

It came in very handy this week. I defended the right of one dear to me to proper healthcare. There were no raised voices. Merely a calculated and palpable atmospheric projection of the rage I felt within, of the disrespect and pure callousness displayed toward the vulnerable and weak.

That, and some pointed questions, got us the aid we required.

Prior to that, we were ignored, treated with a condescending neglect or even annoyance.

I know there is a better way. I know that the ultimate goal is being able to project one’s innate power without the need for physical or psychic violence. I know, theoretically, that the power of compassion overcomes all.

I am not yet there. Perhaps I never will be. Pure, unbridled, violent rage has always been a companion of mine. Along with depression.

Those who know me today shake their heads and exclaim that it cannot be possible. I throw my head back and laugh at their bemused or sometimes even slightly cautious expressions. I do not say aloud but I do think within, “Ah, my friends, here is a person who has lost her fear of the Dark. Hence she is no longer a victim to its whims.” And in order to arrive here, I have paid the toll. Willingly and unwillingly. Isn’t that life?

In the Thoth Tarot, the Queen of Wands is the principle of the mastery of self-knowledge.

Queen of Wands, Thoth Tarot

[She] pinched the growth marks of the leopard to prevent it from transforming into a beautiful lion to match her self-knowledge because she wanted a reminder of the dark places from whence she had come.

I did not like the after sensation of projecting the darkness within into intimidating those doctors into giving us decent service. It lingered in my skin, my body, for a day or two. An internal battle seemed to ensue, where it was so, so tempting, to give in to old habits and succumb to the patterns of snarling rage again.

Calmly I sat upon my couch and watched it rage without fighting it. It is not to be defeated. It is not to be conquered. It is to be accepted. Loved even.

For whatever we fear and reject holds power over us. True mastery comes through understanding, not through fight.

I have just come to a realization!

This scroll by Broken Sword contains no secrets of his swordsmanship. What this reveals is his highest ideal.

In the first state, man and sword become one and each other. Here, even a blade of grass can be used as a lethal weapon.

In the next stage, the sword resides not in the hand but in the heart. Even without a weapon, the warrior can slay his enemy from a hundred paces.

But the ultimate ideal is when the sword disappears altogether. The warrior embraces all around him.

The desire to kill no longer exists. Only peace remains.

— 秦王 King of Qin, 英雄 Hero (2002 film)

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Switching Off From Work.

Do you schedule off days? Do you make it a discipline? Not working is just as important as working. In fact, it is crucial to ensuring high quality output.

Saturday was my off day. Completely off. It was another hot and muggy day up here in the tropical far north and I refused to countenance even the thought of work or writing.

I reinstalled Diablo 3 and enjoyed a couple of hours of gameplay. It’s the start of the rugby league season, and we cheered the North Queensland Cowboys on that evening, even as they were getting smashed by the Roosters. Other than that, I pretty much lounged around all day, doing nothing and thoroughly enjoying it.

Do you find yourself unable to stop thinking about your work after work hours, or even on self-assigned off days? Being unable to pull back is not a sign of dedication, it’s a sign of underlying problems.

Are you unconsciously driven by unhealthy motivations? Unhealthy motivations often drive you to unreasonable actions that prove unsustainable and self-defeating in the long-term.

Are you overextending yourself as a result of poor boundary management? Perhaps you have a problem with saying, “No,” to taking on more than you can healthily manage. If so, you need to examine why.

It is very important to practice disengaging from work.

Everything we do draws on physical and non-physical, psychological and emotional, resources. We have the innate ability to replenish what we consume everyday, however that ability is contingent on physical and non-physical rest.

Sitting on a beach in your bathers with a martini in hand doesn’t work if your mind is still churning away, grinding at problems to solve, worrying about your next deadline and how you’re going to meet it.

Switching off is no longer natural to us. It is a skill we have lost due to disuse, and therefore, like any other rusty skill, we need to get back into the habit of using it, and activating it at will, through dedicated practice.

Start by scheduling a mandatory off day once a week. Ideally, you should schedule some solo time on your off day, where you can go off and be alone for several hours.

What do you do during these hours? The thought must be terrifying to you if you’ve never done this before!

Well, you can start with something simple. How about enjoying a coffee and a book at a local cafe? Have a beach nearby? Get away to it, with a beach towel, sunscreen and bathers. Sunbake, have a swim.

If you have difficulties getting your mind to switch off, now is a good time to practice mind stilling techniques. Meditation is best done daily, however, once a week is better than none. Try a yoga, Tai Chi or Qi Gong class at your local community centre.

You can’t get from all out to nothing in a week, even a month. You’ll drive yourself nuts and it’ll be an unsustainable effort. So start by winding down slowly. Just make sure you do it every week, once a week.

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Are Your Motivations Healthy Or Unhealthy?

Motivation is misunderstood. A popular misconception—motivation is ‘good’, a positive thing that aids our goal achieving efforts, i.e. enthusiasm or inspiration.

When really, motivation can be either:

  • Healthy, self-constructive and empowering, or
  • Unhealthy, self-destructive and disempowering.

Healthy motivations:

  • Support realistic goals, and
  • Lead to actions that are pragmatic, adaptable and sustainable.

Unhealthy motivations:

  • Create unrealistic, and usually irrational, goals, and
  • Lead to actions that are inflexible, self-defeating and unsustainable.

Fear and ego are the worst of unhealthy motivators, and are always self-defeating and destructive to all our goals, however simple or lofty those goals may be.

Unhealthy motivations perceive any deviation from unrealistic expectations of achievement as setbacks to be judged and criticised. This is the primary reason people drop out of efforts because such a perspective attacks self worth.

In contrast, healthy motivations create resilience, and perceive such fluctuations pragmatically as part of the natural process of growth and learning on the path to achieving one’s goals.

The challenge with motivation, however, is that there are two layers of it—conscious and unconscious.

We are usually aware of our conscious motivations. They often take the form of inspirational sounding statements. Take fitness, for example.

“I want to be healthy.”
“I want to be fit.”
“I want to be slim.”

However, most of us are unaware of the insidiously self-defeating mantras we have droning underneath our pretty conscious thoughts.

Once upon a time, this was what my true, unconscious motivation for exercise sounded like, “I don’t want to be fat. If I’m fat, I’m ugly, and if I’m ugly, then people will criticise and reject me.”

Not healthy at all. I struggled for years to make sustainable changes to both my diet and fitness regimes. Unconsciously controlled by my unhealthy motivations, I created unreasonable goals to be achieved in unrealistic timeframes that did nothing but create sickness and injury.

Fear and ego based motivations are not rational.

Today, I have remedied that and now view diet and fitness as a lifelong commitment and practice. Not a goal.

I realised that, after years of unhealthy living, I had to relearn how to listen to my body to guide me on the right path. It’s a learning curve, and so it’s an ongoing practice based on gentle and loving understanding and a desire to continually improve how I live my life.

That is a far more pragmatic, healthy and sustainable perspective and approach.

Once again, awareness is key.

If you have goals that elude you, no matter how many times you have tried or how hard you have worked, have you examined the possibility of unconscious fear or ego based motivations undermining your efforts?

Though we desire change in the physical, tangible aspects of life, it is the non-physical, intangible thoughts, perspectives and motivations lying hidden within us that control whether or not we succeed.

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Criticism Triggers Unconscious Fears.

Criticism is always useful, especially when it hurts. Why?

Criticism only hurts when it strikes too close to an unconscious, or closely guarded, fear.

A commentator once call my writing “cliched”. Her words stung briefly. Then I realised why—I feared being cliched. I was terrified of being a cliched writer and not knowing it!

So her words struck a hidden terror of mine and triggered it.

That’s a good thing, because before that, I had no idea I had such a fear. Now I’m aware of it, thus I can work on it.

Upon realising this, I was grateful, for she gave me the opportunity to free myself from yet another unconscious fear.

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Trolling: Not About Trolls. About You.

Online personal attacks are easy to deal with. Simply apply the question, “True or false?” Is this true? Does it apply to me? Or not?

If, no, easy-peasy. If, yes, well, you’ve got work to do. The most interesting response is, “I don’t know,” or even an ambivalent, “Um…” both of which are more common than you think.

To me, if a troll writes, “You’re a big fat ugly bitch and whore!” on someone’s web site and the owner goes, “I don’t know,” or worse, “What if it’s true?” to the true-or-false test, alarm bells go off, screaming, “Dangerously low self-esteem!”

There should be alarm bells going off for you too, if you can’t shrug off troll attacks.

What people write about you has absolutely nothing to do with you.
Their words always say more about their own character, than they do yours.

“What if others believe them?” is the most common fear.

Nasty personal attacks, heck, even silkily couched personal attacks, are obvious. You don’t need to be a professor in psychology.

Anyone who decides to treat such comments as fact, without knowing you personally AND coming to you directly for verification, is not worth worrying about, or even knowing.

Actions, or lack thereof, speak volumes about a person’s character.

Thank the trolls! They’re helping you sort the shit people from the good people you want in your life.

How about lies? Blatant untruths written in prominent sites, far from your sphere of awareness and control, with an audience of hundreds, if not thousands, of gullible, idle gossipmongers?

Same rules. True or false?

You can’t control what people write about you.
You can’t control what people believe about you.

I’m not saying it won’t hurt. Yes, it will. For a day or two, maybe a week, ideally less. But it shouldn’t come close to destroying you or driving you to suicide.

If it does, my friend, it’s not the trolls who have a problem, you do.

The trolls have merely triggered one or many severe psychological and emotional wounds in you that need to be faced and resolved, and those are what’s killing you. Not the trolls.

Genuine friends and supporters will never, ever number in the hundreds or thousands. You’d have to be extremely lucky to get into the tens.

There will only ever be a small, if not tiny, handful of people who truly know, honour, cherish and love you for who you truly are, as you are, warts and all.

These are the people who matter most. Focus on them!
Then there is your tribe. Focus on them!

These are the people who matter a billion times more than any troll and they deserve your gratitude, time and attention.

Invest your resources on those who matter, who make a difference in your life.
Don’t squander and waste on those who only seek to destroy you.

The age of the Internet should be renamed the age of the troll, for online anonymity has done more to feed the raging emptiness of the hateful lost than any other modern invention.

Today, the more you rise from the rank and file of the faceless anonymous to becoming a person—an actual person! With a name, a face and a story to tell!—with something to give, the more you will attract the attention of the hateful lost, for they hate their lives and existence even more than they claim to hate you.

That is why they believe they stand to gain from channelling hate and malice towards people they don’t know, or even care to know.

One way of telling if you are vulnerable to trolls is to read trolling comments in other web sites. Plenty to be found in online newspapers.

Read and observe your emotional reactions. Any disempowering emotional reaction at reading spiteful comments not directed at you is an indication of susceptibility. Take note of your reactions and examine why. Some part(s) of your psyche identified with the comments. You need to identify it/them.

Reading comments directed at others will only work to a point. Sooner or later, the ultimate test and best training ground is to deal with your own.

If you’re a relatively new blogger with few comments, you get to start out nice and slow.

If, however, you are already dealing with trolls and are struggling emotionally, I recommend the complete opposite course of action—back off and switch off. Do not engage.

Susceptibility doesn’t make trolling comments true. What it does mean is you have unresolved psychological and emotional patterns that cause you to erroneously interpret and accept such comments as true, when they are not. Reality distortion on a psychological level.

You may need professional help. I say this because it is fact that several people, adults and children alike, have already committed suicide as a result of trolling. There is help. Utilise it.

In past iterations of my blog where I did get unpleasant comments, some nasty, I’ve always chosen to respond kindly, lightly and jovially, though usually very briefly.

At the time, it was a discipline for me. It is far too easy to respond to spite in kind, and far more difficult to stop, pull back and examine my reasons for desiring to retaliate, reframe my experience and return with a compassionate and constructive focus. Therefore, it made good practice.

Having said that, I’ve never faced bona-fide trolls, so I can’t say if this will be a practical response. I doubt so, especially en-masse. It would be a waste of time and energy.

Ideally, never respond to a troll, and most definitely never as a direct reply. Nothing you say will improve the situation, or change their mind.

Some bloggers have responded to trolls indirectly in their writing. If you choose to do that, don’t do it out of anger, vindictiveness or worst of all, self-defence. As The Producers sang, “Keep it light! Keep it bright! Keep it gay!”

Don’t sink to the depths of anger and hate that trolls wallow in. Won’t help you and definitely won’t help your readers!

Words have power. To kill. To heal.

However you have even greater powers—to transmute, to reframe. To understand, to empathise. To forgive.

Remember that the only people who can willingly choose to inflict such hurt on others, have themselves been grievously hurt. We have all hurt others with our words when we ourselves were wounded.

Every time you feel tempted to hate and dehumanise trolls for what they have done, realise that you are taking the very same steps they did to end up where they are today.

It is too easy to hate in return. Be better than that.

Be rational.
Be composed.
Be compassionate.

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Dear Reader, I Need Your Help.

I can’t write without a reader. It’s precisely like a kiss—you can’t do it alone.
— John Cheever

For a long time, I assumed my writing to be far too abstract and esoteric to be of interest to others.

Thus, I am humbled to be proven wrong, and I am grateful to the small but regular following here on this blog.

I have a request to make—I would like to open up a channel of communication between you and I, reader and writer.

I would like to begin with a simple questionnaire.

Your opinion matters. As Anthony Liccione aptly said, “A writer is nothing without a reader.”

I have reached the point in my writing where I need to know more about what you want to know more of, so that I can improve upon what I offer.

I hope you can spare some time in your busy day to answer five questions.

I appreciate any input you have offer, and I look forward to reading your response.

Thank you.

If the form below does not load, please click here.

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Goodwill, Change & The World.

Shower everyone you meet with goodwill. Not for benefit to yourself, though the benefits are real1, but to benefit others.

Do not underestimate the power of a genuine smile and greeting, even a friendly wave, given with all the goodwill and compassion you can muster in your heart and being.

“It’s not like they feel anything—it’s only in my head, nor will it change anything in their life,” you may argue. True, you can’t know for sure.

Yet I believe such a simple act may be the first step to changing our world for the better. Actions reveal intent, and change begins with what we choose to put out into our world, every day.

So, what will you put out into the world today?

1 Buchanan, K. E., & Bardi, A. (2010). Acts of kindness and acts of novelty affect life satisfaction. The Journal of social psychology, 150(3), 235-237.

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Root Causality Is Not About Blame.

The processes of self mastery and awareness are not about placing blame for present circumstances.

Awareness usually requires you to drill down to the root cause(s) of your issues and yes, many times that root cause will be some person or some event.

Root causality is so named because a root cause is the starting point for a chain reaction of choices and events that have snowballed into your present circumstance.

Having a target to blame is not the same as defining a root cause.

For example, perhaps you blame your parents for doing, or not doing, certain things, thus impacting you detrimentally. You may think, “Root cause = parents!”

Nope.

Your parents aren’t the root cause. An unconscious perspective of yours, unacknowledged and unaddressed from childhood, that impacted your perceptions of your parents’ actions, or lack thereof, is the root cause.

It always comes back to self. Hence, self mastery.

An interesting fact about root causality—it is not required. Root causality is only the means to an end.

You can resolve psychological and emotional issues without ever returning to the past, because ultimately what matters is the now. That you face up to the reality of your here and now, and do what you need to do.

Most of us aren’t that adept though. Hence, we require the formulaic approach of:

  • First fronting up to what we fear to face in our past, and
  • Then fronting up to what we fear to face in our present, and
  • Finally, doing what we need to do to resolve our issue(s).

But first you must get this straight—you seek your past for the sole purpose of letting it go.

The aim of the exercise is not to absolve yourself of responsibility by placing blame, “See! THAT’s why!” However tempting it is.

Anger is to be expected. The healing process often begins with the acknowledgement and release of a plethora of repressed emotions. You will be angry, rage even. You will grieve. This is natural. And the initial stages of anger and grief will look, sound and feel like blame but there is a crucial difference.

Blame is a stuck state of being. A self created psychological and emotional imprisonment. Stuck in one point, or period, in time so emotionally charged that it is distorted. Memory is unreliable.

In healing, we move through the anger, grief and blame, and beyond to understanding, forgiveness and gratitude.

  • Understanding happens when you are able to remove emotional distortion to view events objectively.
  • Forgiveness happens when you accept responsibility for every thought and emotion you experienced.
  • Gratitude happens when you realise just how much better and stronger a person you have become as a result of your suffering.

That is the true potential of seeking root causality through awareness and self mastery—spiritual independence through self empowerment.

Blame is a state of victimhood. Blame says, “I’m not responsible for what happens in my life.”

You may not have chosen to be born with a debilitating disability, to an abusive family, or in abject poverty. However, you are responsible for everything you chose to think, feel, say and do about circumstances in your past, and it is those choices that created your present.

Your choice where you wish to go next.

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Creativity Matters Not, If You Don’t Ship.

I’m a creative, so I know well the pains of a creative life.

Impossible expectations, relentless self criticism and, above all, the paralysing grip of fear—the lizard brain.

We deny it’s fear though. It’s easier to make up excuses that deny the existence of fear, than it is to admit to the terror of exposure by putting our work, and by extension ourselves, out there.

Our most common stalling tactic is, “It’s not good enough.”

Seth Godin is right—shipping matters above all else.

The person who ships, and fails, the most, wins.

Now the tricky part of this is your concept of ‘winning’—success.

You can fuck yourself up by not acknowledging, examining and addressing an unconsciously preconceived or culturally programmed idea of success.

I used to believe that success was defined by money and eyeballs.

Now I have a much simpler aspiration—to love what I do and create, and to strive to do my very best at both every day.

“What about money?” you ask.

Let me put it this way.

If you want to create amazing work, you need to:

  • Focus on your creative output. Every. Day.
  • Slog at your creative process. Every. Day.

Every creative starts out with shit work.

The only way through is via sheer perseverance and the slog of practice through repeated shipping and failure.

There’s no escaping it. Practice makes perfect. Talent is interesting but ultimately irrelevant if you never ship.

Now, if you don’t love your creative process or output, you’re going to be hard pressed to get from shit to amazing.

I won’t lie. Sometimes you have to scratch money from the equation, at least at the beginning for some, and for others, the possibility of forever.

It depends on what you want.

If you are focused on money and attention, like it or not, you’re not focused on what matters—your craft and what it takes to get from shit to amazing.

I struck money out of my writing late last year and experienced an incredible change in both my creativity and productivity.

  • Fear and criticism decreased.
  • Commitment and productivity increased.
  • Clarity and inspiration skyrocketed.

Freed from the self-imposed constraints of fear and ego, I was finally able to view my work from a realistic and pragmatic point of view.

Today, I love my 48-hourly, self-assigned deadline to publish a post here every other day. I find it easy to sit down and write for the sake of honing my craft every day.

Not all my posts are sterling. That’s not the point. The point is to ship and to learn and improve from the repeated process of shipping.

You need to ask yourself:

  • What do I really want? A tangible result I can work on, or a constipated dream that frustrates me?
  • What is success to me? Does it encourage or inhibit my ability to do the work and ship?
  • Do I love what I create? Enough to create it for its own sake, even when imperfect?
  • Do I love my creative process? Even when it’s hard? Or do I fight with it and have to force myself unwillingly and unhappily?
  • Do I make excuses to avoid the daily discipline of practice and shipping?

Here’s a little pamphlet by Seth Godin entitled Ship it to get you started.

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Mind Body Connection: Not Simply Mind Over Matter.

Apologies for my recent absence. I’ve just emerged from a month-long recovery from liver difficulties—scans revealed a 10 cm hepatic hemangioma in my right lobe.

Despite the inconvenience and discomfort, it has been an extremely enlightening month, and my illness got me thinking about how I utilise my mind body connection as a tool to facilitate physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual well-being.

Mind body connection is the concept that asserts that psychological perspectives and their resulting emotional states influence physical health.

The concept is nothing new. Ancient medicinal traditions like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)1 and Ayurveda2 have been aware of the relationship between the non-physical states (psychological, emotional, spiritual) and physical disease for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

Today, scientists dub this phenomenon psychoneuroimmunology3—the study of interactions between behavior, the brain and the immune system.

Here are the principles of mind body connection as I understand them:

  • Mind and body are one.

    There is no separation between the non-physical states, comprising psychological, emotional, spiritual, and the physical state.

  • The mind body connection functions both ways.

    Physical state can be used to understand, analyse and diagnose non-physical state, vice versa.

  • Physical issues from the non-physical.

    Physical state is the result of non-physical states sustained over time.

  • Neither has precedence over the other.

    Both physical and non-physical states are just as important for holistic well-being.

I was introduced to the mind body connection concept in my late 20s.

It was early 2008. I was in my fourth year of chronic fatigue.

Medical intervention had done nothing for me, and there was no end in sight for my suffering.

Though largely housebound, I did manage to escape to town on my better days. It was on one such day that I found myself perusing the shelves of the local bookshop. An ornate cover caught my eye. It was The Secret.

It was the story of Morris Goodman4 that resonated with me the most. I remember thinking, “If he could recreate normal function after having irreparably damaged his cervical vertebrae, diaphragm, larynx, bladder and kidneys, what is chronic fatigue in comparison?”

I had nothing to lose. So I decided to give this mind-over-matter concept a go.

The actual process was nowhere as simple or easy as it sounds.

My first attempt was in March 2008. I created a virtual reality within my mind by drawing on memories of being fit and strong, and I saturated my body in the mental and emotional sensation for 48 hours.

On the third day, I went for a two hour bush walk at a healthy pace and actually enjoyed it. I got home and I didn’t crash, like I should have. Days passed, and I remained crash-free.

I thought I was healed but it was not to last.

True, from that point on, I was no longer bed or housebound. However, I experienced frequent relapses that could last days and weeks.

To say I was disappointed was an understatement, but the experience only fuelled my determination to get to the bottom of the matter.

It was evident that I achieved a healing of sorts. My next question, then, was, “Why wasn’t it complete?” What did I fail to do?

I was on my own, as I could not find the answers I sought anywhere, none that resonated or applied with me anyway.

So I fell back on the only things I did know and worked for me—self observation and analysis. I worked tirelessly to piece together what little I did know, and figure out the rest through time, experience, trial and error.

I had no guarantees of success. Only hope and determination drove me.

It took me three years, but finally, one sunny afternoon in 2011, I was suddenly blinded by the truth as all the pieces of the puzzle suddenly slammed together.

My physical disease—chronic fatigue—was the manifestation of unconscious cowardice and escapism.

I realised that, for the entirety of my life, I had lacked the courage to:

  • Say no to those who would control me,
  • Say yes to what I genuinely desired to achieve, or, failing both,
  • End my life to escape the limbo of it all.

Unable to live or to die, I unconsciously created the perfect compromise—a perfect state of living death.

No sooner than the revelation struck than I had the most bizarre experience. It felt like a cloud of grey particles, minuscule and translucent, evacuating my body through the pores of my skin to float up into the air above my head before mysteriously vanishing, leaving me stunned.

Today, it’s almost exactly four years on, and I have not had a single relapse.

It was also the first and the last time I effected any complete healing using the power of mind alone.

This experience was the turning point in my belief in mind body connection. It totally transformed how I perceived physical disease.

I was an outspoken advocate for the use of mind body connection as healing modality for a time after my own recovery. However, I have since realised that the concept can be dangerous in the hands of those who would misuse or abuse it due to ignorance, irresponsibility, or both.

The mind body connection is NOT an excuse to:

  • Evade evaluation or treatment by medical professionals, or
  • Dismiss or shirk responsibility for necessary changes to physical areas of life, like diet, fitness, lifestyle and environment etc.

The mind body connection is also most definitely NOT:

  • Effortless, simple or easy, or
  • An instant, or even quick, fix for either physical or non-physical disease, or
  • A purely ‘in the mind’ or faith-based modality.

Any person who approaches the mind body connection thus is misinformed, irresponsible and liable to harm themselves and others.

Today, I use my mind body connection to diagnose and treat psychological, emotional and spiritual disease within myself, by focusing on physical disease as secondary symptomatology rather than primary problem.

In particular, I use my mind body connection in two specific ways:

  • As a secondary and complementary tool to physical treatment and/or therapy of physical disease as recommended by a medical professional, and
  • As an analytical tool to mine for psychological, emotional and spiritual blind spots to assist in my pursuit of self mastery.

Specifically as a physical healing modality, I have used my mind body connection in recent years to:

  • Assist with the elimination of certain physical illnesses that used to plague me frequently, for example tonsillitis, systemic candidiasis.
  • Assist in reducing the frequency and/or severity of other physical conditions, for example migraines.
  • Resolve or ameliorate persistent psychological, emotional and spiritual issues that haunted me for years, for example suicide ideation, depression, anxiety.

My recent bout of liver difficulties was a wake up call for several long-standing physical, psychological and emotional issues that I had failed to address for years.

For the sake of brevity, I shan’t go into all the details, however here are the salient points.

I started noticing mild symptoms four months ago. Those symptoms escalated and January was my crisis point. I went to see my doctor, took the prescribed medication and went for all the necessary tests and scans.

While I slowly recuperated over February, I scrutinised the mind body connection and significance for my disease.

It is interesting to note that in both TCM5 and Ayurveda6, the liver is considered the seat of anger.

A hemangioma is a benign tumour, caused by a proliferation of normal and abnormal blood vessels filled with blood. Giant hepatic hemangiomas7, what I have, can result in circulatory complications, due to the slowing of blood flow8 through the tangle of blood vessels.

In Ayurveda, blood is rakta dhatu, the vehicle that transports prana—life—through the body. Funnily enough, rakta dhatu has a special relationship with the liver9. The Sanskrit word for liver is yakrut, ya meaning circulation and krut meaning action.

I was an extremely angry child, who grew into an extremely angry adult. Rage was my default reaction to everything that went wrong in my life.

What I failed to realise, however, is that anger is merely another form of victimhood, another way of avoiding responsibility for my life experiences.

I have the power to choose and transmute my perspectives, perceptions and interpretations of everything I experience in life, from destructive and disempowering to constructive and empowering. If an experience is perceived as undesired, it is because I have chosen to interpret it as such and created it so.

I also had a lifelong obsession with death and suicide, for I not only hated people, I hated life itself for putting me here in this body to suffer.

An obsession with death is merely another form of escapism. A desire for death, at best slows the flow of life, and at worst inhibits life, with tentacle-like ramifications in every area of life.

It impacted my ability to be financially responsible, for in wishing for death to claim me every moment of every day, I blocked myself from taking responsibility for the reality of the long-term—living life.

It impacted my ability to sustain much needed changes to my diet and fitness regime. I’d felt the intuitive urges to implement these changes for years, but I either kept putting it off, or failed to make the changes stick.

Liver. Too much anger.
Blood. Not enough life.
Both. Self created.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

None of these realisations were a surprise, except perhaps discovery of how chronic suicide obsession can have such insidious and far-reaching ramifications in various life areas.

My physical disease was really just the last kick in the bum, a final warning, as if to say, “This is your last chance. Get cracking, or else!”

Such is the reality of life. We get the signs, but often we, like spoilt children, wilfully choose to ignore them until we have no other choice. I am no different, for all I persevere in the practice of self mastery.

Did I experience any ‘miraculous healing’ from my most recent experience? No, I seriously don’t think so.

I did experience very rapid resolution of all my symptoms.

{The doctor initially suspected gallstones and prescribed medication accordingly, which I took diligently. Didn’t help though. Not only that, I discovered that I am allergic to penicillin. Oh joy. LOL.}

I attribute this to the fact that, in resolving all the non-physical blocks, the unconscious psychological, emotional and spiritual patterns, that had obstructed or sabotaged me all these years, I was finally able to swiftly and easily implement all the physical and non-physical changes I should have done so years ago.

It was the combination of these, both physical and non-physical changes, that assisted in my rapid recovery.

Could this all be merely spurious correlation? Maybe, who knows? After all, correlation is not causality and hindsight is never 20/20.

However, insight is 20/20, and I hold to the belief that, in most cases, it doesn’t matter how I come by my insight, so long as that insight is accurate and aids me to transmute the non-constructive into the constructive.

For example, delving into Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda only provided interesting clues that either fit or didn’t. If I was out to delude myself, then spurious correlation would have harmed me. However, in my case, the clues I discovered didn’t reveal anything new, but more importantly, served to reinforce what I already knew needed to be done.

I would like to stress that, with the exception of my chronic fatigue healing, all the physical changes I mention in this post were achieved through a combination of addressing the non-physical states (psychological, emotional and spiritual) as well as making necessary changes on the physical level (diet, fitness, medication, supplementation etc.).

Nowhere am I asserting that the mind body connection is a wholly ‘mind-over-matter’ affair.

What I AM trying to say is that physical changes may be difficult, or impossible, to effect and sustain without first addressing unconscious non-physical blocks, and that’s where the mind body connection truly shines.

This is far from an exhaustive article on the subject of mind body connection. I welcome your questions and opinions in the comments below for further discussion.

1 Tan, S., Tillisch, K., & Mayer, E. (2004). Functional somatic syndromes: emerging biomedical models and traditional Chinese medicine. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 1(1), 35-40.
2 Jayasundar, R. (2010). Ayurveda: a distinctive approach to health and disease. Curr Sci, 98, 908-14.
3 Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K., McGuire, L., Robles, T. F., & Glaser, R. (2002). Psychoneuroimmunology: psychological influences on immune function and health. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 70(3), 537.
4 Original CNN transcript here.
5 Ots, T. (1990). The angry liver, the anxious heart and the melancholy spleen. Culture, medicine and psychiatry, 14(1), 21-58.
6 Shearer, E. (2005). The Role of Ayurveda vs. Western Medicine in the Treatment of Hepatitis C. [online] California College of Ayurveda. Available at: http://www.ayurvedacollege.com/articles/students/hepatitis [Accessed 20 Feb. 2015].
7 Hoekstra, L. T., Bieze, M., Erdogan, D., Roelofs, J. J., Beuers, U. H., & van Gulik, T. M. (2013). Management of giant liver hemangiomas: an update. Expert review of gastroenterology & hepatology, 7(3), 263.
8 Caseiro-Alves, F., Brito, J., Araujo, A. E., Belo-Soares, P., Rodrigues, H., Cipriano, A., … & Mathieu, D. (2007). Liver haemangioma: common and uncommon findings and how to improve the differential diagnosis. European radiology, 17(6), 1544-1554.
9 California College of Ayurveda, (2010). Rakta Dhatu: A closer look. [online] Available at: http://www.ayurvedacollege.com/Ayurveda/rakta-dhatu-closer-look [Accessed 20 Feb. 2015].

Disclaimer:

  • There isn’t, as yet, a universally agreed upon methodology for the use of the mind body connection.

    Different people who have experienced success with its application have used different approaches.

    I merely describe my personal experience, and am not prescribing, advocating or promoting my approach.

    I personally believe that efficacy of the methodology differs from individual to individual, for various reasons.

  • I am NOT a medical professional, and my words and opinions do NOT constitute medical advice.

    If you are in any way physically, psychologically, or emotionally indisposed, please seek professional advice from a qualified medical professional.

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Creativity Is Love.

There is nothing mysterious about creativity. There is no magic ingredient.

Creativity boils down to these few simple questions:

  • Do you love what you do, as you love a lover?
  • Are you irresistibly drawn to create what you do?
  • Are you painstakingly devoted to its improvement, however hard that may be?

Creatives create first and foremost for themselves and not for external reward or validation, for the adoration of their craft is motive enough.

It doesn’t matter what the craft is—writing, design, thinking, software development, podcasts etc.

Without love, creativity is hard to come by or contrived. Worst yet is artificial ‘creativity’ driven by fears like reputation, monetary, competition, perfectionism etc.

Fear is not love. Fear drains you of all good things and can only create unsustainable, shallow works.

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Gratitude For Suffering.

I grew up in a Buddhist environment. As such, I was exposed to the Buddhist concept of nirvana, which is to be free of dukkha, commonly translated as ‘suffering’.

As a child, I made the cessation of dukkha my goal.

I resolved that, if I am to be forced to exist in a world that I do not wish to exist in, then, at the very least, I should free myself from the suffering of my existence.

What I didn’t understand at that tender age—nor for most of my adult life—is that ‘cessation of dukkha’ cannot be accomplished via the literal application of the phrase.

  • You cannot cease to suffer.
  • You cannot escape or hide from suffering.
  • You cannot ignore or deny suffering.

Suffering is inherent to life, and absolutely essential for a well-lived life.

Suffering is a gift, one we have taught ourselves to fear. We desire to eradicate it. We fight everything we do not understand. Human nature.

Yet suffering is within. How do we fight ourselves?

Suffering is not to be overcome.

Suffering is to be:

  1. Seen,
  2. Understood, and finally,
  3. Embraced.

“How have I created my suffering?” is the question least asked by a person who suffers.

Instead, we ask, “How can I stop suffering?” And then we turn to products and services for relief—rarely for genuine resolution.

All fail.

They may succeed at numbing or distracting us. However, there is nothing, not now or ever, that can hand over the cessation of suffering in exchange for a fistful or truckload of money.

In the Anuradha Sutta, Buddha himself is claimed to have said, “Formerly, and also now, I make known just suffering and the cessation of suffering.”

He was not the first, nor will he be the last, to expound on the nature of suffering. Yet he was unable to liberate all who heard him. Why?

The cessation of suffering begins with self. No words can teach the experience needed. It’s really not that deep or complicated an answer but we do not like to hear it.

There is no shortcut. In this, our modern, shallow, impatient culture, we have no desire for self mastery. We just want relief, yesterday.

Therefore we suffer more than ever.

Instead of fighting suffering, we should learn to see suffering as a helpful beeping alarm or flashing light.

An invaluable opportunity to engage in the process of self mastery.

  • “Why am I suffering?”
  • “What do I fear?”
  • “Why am I angry?”
  • “Why do I hurt?”

The other thing we do not like to hear is this—Responsibility for our suffering lies with ourselves. It is never anybody or anything else’s fault that we suffer.

You suffer because you hold some perspective that translates your experience as something to suffer over.

What is that perspective?
What is that belief?

Think.
See.
Understand.

And in doing so, you may attain freedom from suffering, which in the most practical terms for your everyday life, is to:

  • See dukkha as the incredible gift it is,
  • Feel gratitude for its presence in your life,
  • Seize the opportunity it presents to understand and master your bedevilments and achieve freedom from them via your understanding.
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